Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Movin' On Up

The Hoops Manifesto has moved - check out the new site at:

http://www.hoopsmanifesto.com/

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NBA 2K10 Trailer

You know you've reached the dog days of the offseason when Greg Ostertag's possible return to the NBA is the top story going around. To help cure your boredom, here is the official trailer for NBA 2K10.


Madden NFL 10 Review



In honor of the start of hut hut season, I've been playing a lot of Madden NFL 10 for my PS3 (actually the main reason I've been playing it is because EA sent me a copy to review!). As usual, its a great game and just as fun as when I first played Madden back in 1992 or 1993 (except there is no Thurman Thomas in it that you can a run a Halfback Swing Right play for and get a guaranteed touchdown).

If you've played the recent incarnations of Madden this game doesn't offer any monumental changes - including the Madden curse, as co-cover star Troy Polamalu found out in Week 1. One change is the Pro-Take animation, that allows you to control the movement of players in gang tackles and fumbles. I really enjoy that the game constantly rates your skill levels and adjusts the difficulty of the game to coincide with your increasing (or decreasing) grasp of the game. The graphics are stunning and the audio is great, except, like in real life, there isn't a whole lot of John Madden announcing anymore.

Of course the game offers an extensive online experience, with online leagues and the ability to update rosters (if you feel the need to have Mr. Dog Killer or The Wrangler Man in your game). All in all Madden is a very enjoyable, easy to play, and addictive game. In fact I find myself playing it instead of watching the NFL on TV, but I do kind of live in a fantasy world anyway, so that's par for the course.

Grab the game here:


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Mathematical Answer

'Nuff digital ink has already been wasted debating God's decision to tell Allen Iverson to sign with Memphis. So rather than waste anymore, The Hoops Manifesto steals a page from The Blowtorch and breaks it down mathematically.



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+




+




=





Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NBA 2K10: Draft Combine Review





I finally got a chance to play the much anticipated NBA 2K10: Draft Combine over the weekend. This game is a dream come true for basketball junkies craving some hoops action in the offseason. But you better have thick skin - from playing it I learned that Derrick Rose is a very mean man - he wouldn't stop yelling at me about how bad I was playing. You try being a 6'6" power forward from Canada trying to make it in the NBA, Mr. Rose!! In all seriousness, Draft Combine is a fun game, but you have to remember that it only costs $5 before you get too disappointed with it - the game is short, hearing the same couple of songs is annoying and the camera angles can be frustrating. But like I said, it only costs you $5.

The concept of the game is very straighforward - create a player, perform drills to improve your attribute ratings and play in 5-on-5 scrimmages where you are given tasks to perform to raise your draft stock and increase your player rating. Like I mentioned above, the game is short - you only get to play six games before it is over, and you can only create and save one player. But once the real 2K10 comes out on October 6th you can upload your create draft prospect and play him in the real game. There is also online capability, so you can take your created player online to play against other people's creations. (something I won't be doing since my player sucks). The whole premise of it is real intriguing and something I'd love to see 2K Sports expand on in the future. Consider it an inexpensive, sneak peak/demo of the upcoming NBA 2K10 game. The game is download only, so go to XBox LIVE Arcade or the PlayStation Network to get it.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Michael Jordan: The Best Ever Review


The World Wide Leader recently sent me a copy of their new "bookazine" Michael Jordan: The Best Ever. I didn't know what to expect, since there was no such thing as a "bookazine" when I was growing up. Turns out it is a high quality, almost 100-page tribute to Jordan's career on the eve of his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. Considering it will only set you back $8.99, it is a must-have keepsake for all hoopheads out there. The best part about the publication, especially if you are illiterate, is all of the great photography that is housed within its covers. High school MJ, college MJ (wearing Converse on his feet), pro MJ, baseball MJ and executive MJ are all covered, with plenty of appearances of the worst mustache in sports history. There's even a Gatorade sponsored poster that you can put up in your locker. Its not all photos though, as there are plenty of articles - both old and new - chronicling famous Jordan feats, like his "sick game" versus Utah in the playoffs - as well as rare stories, such as the time a martial artists cut his stomach with a sword. And for shoe addicts, every Jordan issued kick is written about and displayed.

Go and grab this "bookazine" and proudly display it on your coffee table (and if you don't have a coffee table, pick one up while you are buying the "bookazine").

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Man of the People

Us Canadians are just so gosh darn friendly and hospitable. Take our fearless leader, Captain Canada himself, Steve Nash. During a recent visit to China, Nash dropped in to play some pickup basketball and soccer at a park. Trying to disguise himself by wearing goggles and a bandana, Nash was immediately recognized. While it is fun to see him being a down-to-earth guy, I'd much rather he be trying to help Canada qualify for the World Basketball Championships rather than hanging out in China. Regardless, some video of his pickup exploits recently was released. Enjoy.

(embedding the video didn't work, so we'll have to do it the old fashion way via a link)

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTE2NjEzMTgw.html

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh (No) Canada




I'm going to let you in on a secret that might totally blow my credibility as a basketball writer - I'm Canadian. For those of you who didn't immediately switch to a different website, I'll continue. Some Canadians do actually care about basketball. And for us that do care, the plight of our beloved Canadian National Team is a sore spot.

For those of you not keeping track at home, Canada has now lost four straight games at the FIBA Americas Championship. The chances of Canada qualifying for next year's World Basketball Championship are slim to none (unless they pull off a miracle in next year's playoff for a wildcard spot). None of this is a surprise to followers of Canadian basketball - the realistic among us realized from the start that the team's chances of qualifying via the FIBA Americas Championship weren't good.

There are several places you could point the blame for Canada's continued dismal showing on the world stage - the infrastructure (almost non-existent), the coaching (inexperienced), the lack of passion for the sport in the country (hockey, hockey, hockey). But the real reason, in my not-so-humble opinion, is a lack of talent. Canada continually sends minor league talent to compete against the world's best. And that just doesn't cut it.

Say what you will about this year's team being a cohesive unit that all get along with each other - chemistry is an important factor to winning. But without talent comparable to the competition, all the cohesiveness in the world won't help you. I could get a bunch of friends of mine (if I had friends) to play with me and we'd have good chemistry, but we'd get slaughtered if we went up against the world's best. Now while the Canadian National Team is a lot better than me and my friends (having played against/with former National Team players I have seen this firsthand), their talent level is still not anywhere near that of the top teams they are going up against.




This is not to say that Canada lacks top-level basketball talent. What I am saying is Canada's top basketball talent never team up and play for the National Team together. Canada has four NBA players (not to mention one Canadian NBA head coach, Toronto's Jay Triano, who Canada unceremoniously fired a few years back), yet the only one playing on this year's team is Miami's Joel Anthony, who is a solid defensive player but is in no way a go-to talent that Canada needs. Which seems to always be the case for Canada since Steve Nash stopped competing for his country - they are always lacking a go-to guy. Last go-around Samuel Dalembert was thrust into that role before he was booted from the team, but Dalembert isn't much better suited as the centerpiece of a team as Anthony is. However, put Nash, Dalembert, Anthony and Jamaal Magloire on the roster, and you've got yourself a team to be reckoned with.

Other countries have deep enough talent reserves that if all their top guys don't show up, they'll still be competitive. Argentina is missing guys but they still have Luis Scola. Brazil is missing Nene but they still have Leandro Barbosa. Canada can't afford to be missing three NBA players and still expect to compete on the world stage.

The solution is pretty simple - what Canada needs is a point guard who won't be intimidated on the international stage, can be a go-to scorer while also setting up teammates, and will be a positive influence on the team. Anyone know of anybody that fits the bill?






Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Gambler Takes It To The Air

The answer to an age-old question has finally been revealed with the help of Ball Don't Lie - What would happen if singer Kenny Rogers went up against an in-his-prime Michael Jordan on the basketball court.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NBA 2K10 & Draft Combine Trailers

2K Sports recently released a trailer for the upcoming NBA 2K10 game, featuring my very favourite person in the whole wide world, Kobe Bean Bryant! Also, NBA 2K10: Draft Combine dropped today for the XBox (us PS3 users have to wait until Sept 3rd to get our hands on it) so I've included an extensive trailer for that also. Enjoy!

video






Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Brother


Twitter strikes again. First there was J.R. Smith being akkused of gang affiliation due to his Twitter tweets. Then Stephen Marbury damaged his hopes of getting signed for next season with his crazy Tweets and webcam shows. Now Michael Beasley has reportedly checked himself into rehab, apparently for treatment for depression. No doubt the fallout over his recent infamous Twitter photo contributed to this turn of events. Which shows the dangers this new 24-hour, all-access media world we live in poses to "celebrities".

This "Big Brother Is Watching" world is great for us fans and writers, as we get much more access and "scoops" than ever before. But it also brings out the worst in us. We want athletes to be interesting and accessible, but at the same time we love to jump all over them at the slightest slip-up. One of the great aspects of Michael Beasley is (was?) his joye de vivre - he admitted he was still a kid, literally and figuratively, and he was going to enjoy himself. Sure he might be a knucklehead sometimes, but he is in no way a bad guy or someone who is going to be showing up on the police blotter. Now we're sucking the life out of him. Now if he does indeed have a substance abuse problem we can't be blamed for that, but we can be blamed if the man is suffering from depression. The internet is such a dangerous tool, all it took was for one person to comment about the baggies in the background of that photo for the wildfire to spread. Mainstream media jumped all over the story, this website jumped all over it, and next thing you know that guy checks himself into rehab. Shame on all of us.

The other sad part of this situation is athletes are going to become much more careful what they let be known to the public. Guys are already shutting down their Twitter accounts and the ones that still have them are probably going to end up looking like a publicist wrote it for them. We'll still have the Marburys and Ron Artests of the world that don't care what people think, but for the rest of the image-conscious athlete, they'll think twice before Tweeting. Which means more lame posts like "Off to the gym" or "watching a movie". We love building up our stars, but we love tearing them down even more. Technology just makes it easier for us to do so.

Here's hoping Beasley comes out of rehab as the happy-go-lucky kid we all remember him as. And here's hoping he can add to his already impressive highlight reel on the court.







Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Adventures of Super Cool Beas



Recent conversation at Michael Beasley's crib:


One of Beasley's Boys: Yo Mike, how is your new tattoo?

Super Cool Beas: Super Cool, my man. 'Cept it is super sore.

Beasley's Boy: No problem, I'm holding something that will help numb the pain.

Super Cool Beas: Super cool, my man. Throw the baggie of it over on my super cool coffee table.

Beasley's Boy: Will do Super Cool Beas.

Super Cool Beas: I've got to take a picture of my super cool new tattoo. Once everyone sees this picture they'll realize why I'm called Super Cool Beas.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Awesome Athlete Ads Volume III

You'll have to forgive the lazy posts recently, but it's the offseason - get off my back!! Continuing The Hoops Manifesto's awesome athlete ad series, here's three for the price of one. You're welcome.








Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NBA 2K10: Draft Combine Trailer

2K Sports recently released a trailer for NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, which I wrote about a while back. Here is a small taste of what they have in store for us when the game drops in a couple of weeks.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Catch De Taste

The Hoops Manifesto's tribute to awesome athlete ads continues with this classic from the baseball realm starring Toronto Blue Jays star Roberto Alomar, before he was spitting on umpires and being accused of trying to give girls AIDS. Bon appetite.




Sunday, August 16, 2009

Xavier McDaniel is Tougher Than You



So you think you are tougher than former NBA All-Star Xavier McDaniel? Here's proof that you're not:

- While playing for the Supersonics, the Seattle SWAT team replaced their battering ram with McDaniel's head.

- McDaniel needs a permit in most states to be in possession of himself.

- He's surprised he liked Saw 2 because he normally hates comedies.

- X gonna give it to ya, he gonna give it to ya.

- While going for a hike in the mountains of Seattle, he fended off a grizzly bear attack by raising his eyebrow.

- When it is time for Chuck Norris to die, it won't be the Grim Reaper delivering the news to him, because Chuck would roundhouse the Grim Reaper, but rather the X-Man.

- The original title of the Wu Tang's classic was "Xavier McDaniel Ain't Nothing Ta F' Wit" but before RZA could ask permission X choked him out.

- McDaniel considered entering the UFC until he learned of their "sissy" rules like no eye gauging or groin attacks.

- He once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
- Whoever came up with the expression "I can put my arm back on, you can't" has never met Xavier McDaniel.
- The only reason the Sonics had to move to Oklahoma City is because McDaniel lost them in his weekly card game with Satan.

- Guess who insisted on human brains as part of his team's pre-game meal?

- He thinks Bill Laimbeer would have been a better player if he had played with more of a chip on his shoulder.

- Allegedly a referee called a foul on McDaniel once - we don't speak that referee's name any longer.

- And, finally, you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words:




Saturday, August 15, 2009

G.O.A.T. Basketball Commercial

Don't miss my treatise on Michael Vick. Now onto more important things. I stumbled across this video while reading through the archives of the very entertaining The Blowtorch blog today. It could very well be the greatest performance by an athlete in a commercial of all-time. Enjoy.

Just A Song And Dance Man






I was trying my hardest to avoid writing about the Michael Vick saga. The web is inundated with stories on him anyway, plus I didn't want to come off as too preachy, what with the hot flames I breathed upon Rick Pitino just a few days ago.

My position on Vick is pretty clear, even without me stating it and just letting you read between the lines. I WAS an Eagles fan up to a couple of days ago, am a dog owner, became a vegetarian and stopped buying leather, suede, etc. due to my moral beliefs, and believe a "mistake" is something that you do once, not an ongoing practice that continues until you get caught and are forced to stop and repent. So hopefully that makes my view on Vick clear without spelling it out explicitly.

What changed my tune about writing about Vick signing with the Eagles is the issue of "second chances". As predictably as death and taxes, all parties involved in this situation - Vick, the Eagles, the fans, media, the NFL - are spouting off about how this is all about giving the convicted dogfighter a second chance. Which is all really just self-serving rhetoric. What this is really all about is our insatiable need for entertainment. Ask yourself this question - are you really interested in giving Michael Vick a second chance or are you only interested in seeing performances like this:






Say Michael Vick got injured in prison and couldn't play anymore - would anyone be interested in giving the man a second chance, outside of maybe the Tony Dungys of the world? Of course not. People only care about Vick because he entertains us and sells newspapers and makes people read our blogs. If Vick was a plumber or teacher or construction worker, no one would be scrambling to give him a job. And there sure wouldn't be any moral outrage over denying this man an opportunity to earn a living and feed himself.



This is just further proof that the most important thing in our society is entertainment. We don't bestow $20 million salaries on the people who teach our children or come up with cures for cancer or lead our countries. We give these amounts of money to people who entertain us - athletes, musicians, actors. If you are lucky enough to be talented in one of these fields, you will always have the opportunity of a second (or third, or fourth) chance given to you. We can say all we want about other things being more important in our lives, but money talks, and the money says that we care most about being entertained. Michael Vick entertains us, therefore a team like the Eagles are willing to pretend they are being charitable by giving him a second chance, when in actuality they are just using him to make money by entertaining us.

The second Michael Vick stops being able to perform and entertain us, we'll forget about him and toss him to the side - which is probably fitting, considering that is exactly what Vick did to his underperforming dogs.







Tickets For All NFL Games





Friday, August 14, 2009

Tito & Dana Sitting in a Tree

Tito Ortiz and Dana White proved last week that Philadelphia really is The City of Brotherly Love. Now that's G.







UFC Caps & Beanies

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Not So) Slick Rick




If this basketball thing doesn't work out, Rick Pitino ought to try politics - he already makes similar "indiscretions" as politicians. As most of the world now knows, the married father of five had a little "indiscretion" a few years ago involving having sex with a woman in a restaurant, getting her pregnant, paying her money so she could get health insurance to get an abortion and then having the woman try to extort him and accuse him of rape. This is about as sleazy as you can get - not only did he cheat on his wife, he did so in a public place, without thoughts of birth control, and then, whether directly or not, helped aid the woman in getting an abortion. Despite all of this, his bosses at Louisville stand behind him and call him a role model and positive influence.

Am I missing something here? I try to be a compassionate, forgiving man. People do deserve second chances. But people don't always deserve to keep their jobs after incidents like this. Pitino has proved that he is NOT a role model or a positive influence. And because of this, Louisville needs to remove him as their head coach immediately. The highest paid public official in the state of Kentucky (until Coach Calipari came on the scene) and supposed "leader of young men" needs to be held to higher standards than the rest of us. And Pitino has proven not to meet these standards by any stretch of the imagination.

Similar cases have occurred with players, and their school didn't hesitate to chase them out of town immediately. So why shouldn't a paid employee of a university - the face of the school no less - be treated the same way. Not only is Pitino the face of the university, he is the person responsible for molding, supervising and coaching teenage kids. He's the one that is supposed to show them the way and help turn them from kids into adults. Additionally, many of the kids that end up on his team come from backgrounds lacking good role models (especially male ones), so that makes Pitino's role even more important. After this scandal has come to light, can you really trust Rick Pitino to teach his players the difference between right and wrong?

If a professor or the university president were caught up in the same type of scandal, do you think that the school would look the other way? Of course not, because those positions don't pull in money for the university like Pitino does. Now don't get things confused - this is all about money. The school will say all the right things about second chances and Pitino admitting to his "indiscretion" but the fact of the matter is they will keep him around because he recruits good players, which subsequently makes the team competitive, which subsequently makes the university tons of dough.




And that is just plain wrong. Pitino might honestly be sorry, but he still has to go. Louisville needs to make a stand that winning and losing and making money is not more important than providing a positive atmosphere for its "student-athletes". If Pitino is truly a role model and positive influence than he should prove it by stepping down - not due to moral reasons but due to the grief, embarrassment and distraction he has caused his players and his employer. If he's not willing to exit, Louisville needs to show him the way to the door. One way or another, Slick Rick The Ruler's reign in Louisville needs to end.






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Monday, August 10, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

It's quite fitting that Kurt Rambis has been hired to take over as the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach after Kevin McHale got fired. How does that expression about payback go again? Payback is a .....






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Sunday, August 9, 2009

John Wall Meets Jerry Stackhouse

Kentucky's incoming freshman point god John Wall introduced himself to NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse over the weekend. Looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.






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MMA Manifesto - An Ode to Anderson Silva

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does everything a fighter can,
Pound for pound, he's the best
Head and shoulders above the rest
Look Out!
Here comes Anderson Silva, man.








Saturday, August 8, 2009

MMA Manifesto - An Open Letter to Dana White


Hi Dana - I hope it is ok to call you Dana - you don't seem like one for formalities. I know you're really busy now, what with UFC 101 happening tonight, but there is an important topic I wanted to discuss with you. It is concerning the importance of competition and, more specifically, Strikeforce. No, not the Tito Santana-Rick Martel tag team from the late 80s - I'm talking about the MMA promotion.



Sorry, I probably confused you by calling the promotion Strikeforce rather than the name you coined for them "Strikefarce" (you are so funny and witty). I guess you are pretty peeved at Strikeforce right now for signing Fedor Emelianenko on you, but like I wrote before, you made the right choice letting him go elsewhere. Now you feel threatening by this promotion, the very same promotion you used to bestow kind words upon. You say that Fedor is going to ruin Strikeforce and that if they want to fight you then bring it on. But I think you are missing the point here - you shouldn't feel threatened about a competitor getting stronger - you should view it as a positive.


Competition isn't a dirty word - it's a good thing. Competition will keep you and your organization on its toes and make sure that you don't get complacent. Competition will also help grow the sport, which in the end means more money in your pocket. Look no further than the world that your current heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, came from - pro wrestling. Wrestling was on fire in the last 1990s when the WWE (nee WWF) and rival WCW were waging a full-on battle royal. The WWE's TV ratings were twice what they are now, and combined with WCW's equally high ratings, the sport was getting more attention and viewers than ever before. Then Vince McMahon bought up all the competitors (WCW & ECW) and the TV ratings have dropped. With MMA still in its infancy, you and the UFC can not go it alone in building the sport into a mainstream powerhouse - you need help. That is where promotions like Strikeforce and Dream and Sengoku come into play. They get your sport exposure and drum up interest without you having to put any money into it. As long as you remain the leader in the industry - which you apparently have a stranglehold on for the long run - you will do nothing but benefit from this growth of your sport.



If you don't like the pro wrestling comparison, we can find examples in the place where you want to be - mainstream sports. The AFL brought exciting, offensive-minded football to the fans before they combined with the NFL. The WHL introduced the world to Wayne Gretzky before they joined the NHL. The ABA introduced Afros, Dr. J and the slam dunk competition to the realm of basketball. In the end all of these leagues ended up merging with their competitors, but the point is that for a period they put up strong competition to the respective leaders in their fields, causing everyones' games to get elevated. Having a strong competitor in Strikeforce will force you to continue to put together strong PPV cards, not Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort main events (because, seriously, you expect people to pay $49.99 for that?!?).



Besides, even with Fedor, Strikeforce (sorry - Strikefarce - so funny) shouldn't be considered a dangerous rival anyways. They should be looked upon as nothing more than a minor league - a place where fighters can gain exposure and experience before you sign them to the big leagues in the UFC. This is a promotion that has a woman's match - which, at this early stage of women competing in the sport is nothing more than a gimmick match - headlining an upcoming PPV. Maybe Strikeforce will steal some of your advertising and TV revenue and force you to pay a little more for fighters than you would have preferred, but in the long run the positives of having a strong competitor far outweigh the negatives.



I know you hope and predict that you will crush Strikeforce and force them to join your ranks, like Pride and Affliction before them. But hopefully I have made you reconsider that position.


Hugs and Kisses,

The Hoops Manifesto





UFC Fighter Tees

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Needle And The Damage Done


Rashard Lewis has totally stolen my thunder. I've been planning a steroids in the NBA piece for quite some time - I even pitched it to Sports Illustrated today - and he has to go and get busted for steroids. I wanted to explore why every other sport seems to have problems with performance enhancing drugs (or PEDs if you want to be cool) but the NBA so far had been free of blemishes. Sure, plenty of players had been busted for chasing the dragon, but no one in the NBA would ever dream of using steroids or other PEDs.


Then Rashard had to go and piss it all away (pun intended). He's already trotted out the old reliable (nudge,nudge,wink,wink) "tainted supplement" excuse, which has to be the lamest and least believable alibi in the book. Even when I was playing basketball in university in Canada I had a list provided to me of all the supplements that were banned in the league, so there is no excuse for Lewis to not know that he was taking something against the rules (which, to his credit, he has pretty much come out and said himself). I much prefer players with unique excuses, like that tennis player who was busted for cocaine who claimed it got into his system when he kissed a mysterious woman he met in the bar. Now that is a cool excuse. Guess Rashard's wife would be pissed with that one though.

But the real news here is not Rashard Lewis getting busted, but why more NBA players don't get caught. Despite all the negatives to PEDs (long-term health issues, illegal, against the rules) many athletes think the positives far outweigh them. PEDs can make you faster, stronger, bigger and aid in recovery and recuperation - all vital for sports. So why are we supposed to believe that NBA players aren't interested in getting an edge on the competition, what with millions of dollars in contracts and millions more in endorsements up for grabs? If football players, and baseball players and bike riders and so on all do PEDs, why wouldn't basketball players also?

What is more interesting to ponder is what would the NBA, its corporate partners, the media and the fans think if a PED problem got uncovered in the League? Lewis will be a good test case, an all-star player but not a superstar or big name guy. A 10-game suspension is a pretty small slap on the wrist - less than an eighth of the season - so perhaps the League isn't too concerned with the problem.



But what do we, as fans, feel about this? Do we care if our basketball heroes are doping? We care in baseball because that is a game steeped in history, where records and numbers matter and we don't want the heroes of yesterday getting robbed by young drug users. We don't care in football or MMA because those athletes are warriors and we only care about the size of the combatants and the ensuing violence of their collisions. But basketball is sort of in between these two extremes. So, do we care if NBA players are on steroids or HGH? Would Michael Jordan's aerial exploits be diminished if we found out drugs were helping him jump that high? Would we still consider LeBron or Kobe the best in the world if we discovered they were sticking themselves with needles in the training room?

I guess these are all questions that don't have a consensus answer - it all depends on what each of us feel about the issue on a personal level. But just be prepared to do some soul searching soon - if virtually every other sport is touched by PEDs the NBA can't remain scot-free for much longer.



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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MMA Manifesto: Big Fedor, Small Pond


It is with a heavy heart that I report the demise of the Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC dream. And as hard as it is to say due to the fact I'm not a fan of the man's persona or way he carries himself, Dana White did the right thing.

I wanted Fedor in the UFC as much as the next guy (but probably not as much as my brother, who has developed a serious crush on The Last Emperor), but I completely agree with White and the UFC's decision to hold their ground and not cave in to Fedor and M1's demands of a co-promotion deal. The UFC has taken years to build their brand to the position it is at now and there is no way they can compromise that position by letting a fighter's management company piggyback on their brand name. As much as Fedor would have brought to the UFC, it would not have been enough to justify giving M1 a co-promotion deal. If the UFC crossed that bridge, negotiations with every other big name fighter in the future would have gotten infinitely harder.

White might be a blowhard, but there is no denying that he is a brilliant business man. Being a MMA fighter is a precarious occupation - one day you can be on top of the world, the next moment you are considered washed up. That is why White has wisely made his mug - and not that of a fighter - as the face of the UFC. White isn't going anywhere - no one is going to knock him out (even though many dream of that) and tarnish his image. He is the one getting all the media attention. He is the one on the cover of the inaugural edition of the UFC magazine. Dana White is the most famous person in the MMA world, not Fedor or anyone else. While it would have been great to see Fedor in the UFC, the truth was that Fedor and M1 needed the UFC more than the UFC needed them. As long as the UFC have Dana White, they are going to be fine.

Besides, it is not like Fedor is much of a draw in North America anyway. Us hardcore MMA fans know and love him, but the casual fans - the ones that every sport depends on to make a profit and prosper - probably only know about him due to all the publicity his recent contract negotiations with the UFC garnered. He is a chubby, shy Russian who comes off as rather unassuming. Before the bell rings he certainly doesn't appear to be a bad ass, like his heavily tattooed brother does.


The intangibles Fedor does possess - his mystique and seemingly invulnerability - would have been destroyed pretty quick in the UFC. Once the UFC's marketing muscle was put behind him, his mystique would have vanished almost immediately. He'd no longer be this mysterious Drago-like character from Russia - he'd be exposed as the normal, down-to-earth person that he is. As for the invincibility, that disappears for all fighters eventually. All fighters - no matter how dominant - eventually lose in the MMA world. Fedor has only lost once - that was nine years ago and it was due to a cut - but the fact of the matter is he is 33-years-old, and as much as we hoped, there was no guarantee he wasn't going to get his face smashed in during his very first UFC match versus Brock Lesnar. So, with the mystique and the invincibility gone, what would the UFC have been left with? Just another talented - but aging - fighter. Not someone worthy of having his own management help run the organization.

So as tough as Fedor is, it looks like he finally ran into an opponent who he couldn't make tap out - Dana White.






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Sunday, August 2, 2009

"It Ain't Nothing But The Devil"

I was originally reluctant to join Twitter but now I'm glad I did. If I wasn't for Twitter I wouldn't have the following links for all you good people to check out. They're the best Jerry, the best. Here are some of the gems I've discovered this past week.

First off, the Lego adventures of Allen Iverson and friends is one of the funniest things I've seen on the world wide web in a long time. Nuff respect due to the Overflow blog.

Lego Iverson Part 1

Lego Iverson Part 2

Lego Iverson Part 3

Lego Iverson Part 4

Lego Iverson Part 5

Lego Iverson Part 6


And of course, our good friend Stephon Marbury is still hard at work entertaining us all. In this latest instalment he runs into the devil in his Benz. As we all know from experience, that's not a fun thing to have happen to you.









FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!


Bet you didn't know that Donyell Marshall was really Luke's father.

So an Austrian, a Frenchman and an American are on a movie set together....

That's it for my lazy links dump post. Currently working on a NBA All-Eccentric Team. Any suggestions speak now or forever hold your peace.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Button Mashing of the Future



Since we're on a bit of a video game kick, lets continue with some news of a couple of upcoming games that are of interest to The Hoops Manifesto - NBA 2K10 and EA Sports: MMA.

First, some exciting news from our good friends at 2K Sports - NBA 2K10: Draft Combine. Rather than summarize it for you, here it is straight from the horse's mouth. This press release was sent to me by 2K Sports:


2K Sports Announces NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, a Totally New Downloadable Game Experience

Get a taste of NBA 2K10’s all-new gameplay and My Player career mode while living the life of an NBA hopeful going through the real NBA Draft Combine.

New York, NY – July 28, 2009 – 2K Sports today announced NBA® 2K10: Draft Combine, a download-only title that will provide pre-season fun for basketball fans leading up to the fall launch of NBA 2K10. Planned for release this September on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®Network for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system,, NBA 2K10: Draft Combine will allow fans to create their own custom player with the utmost detail and, for the first time in the NBA 2K series, begin their career by experiencing the on-court life of an NBA hopeful going through the NBA Draft Combine at the world-renowned, ATTACK Athletics gym in Chicago.

“We’re giving our dedicated NBA 2K fans an incredible opportunity with NBA 2K10: Draft Combine,” said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K. “Gamers will have exclusive access to online content and get to test drive NBA 2K10’s new gameplay features, advanced player progression system and the all-new My Player career mode before the game launches this fall.”

Features of NBA 2K10: Draft Combine include:

· Building custom players by working with a mentor, the 2K Insider, and increasing their NBA stock through a variety of challenging basketball drills and 5-on-5 games.

· Over 300 different signature customizations, including player-specific shooting animations, dunk and dribble packages and more to allow each created player to have his own unique personal style.

· Ability to strengthen all parts of the created player’s game with a variety of drills, such as shooting, post offense and defense, attacking the basket, dribbling, challenging shots, boxing out for rebounds and more to progress through the NBA Draft Combine.

· Organized games that will allow players to gain valuable skill points and offer a variety of specific in-game objectives that will need to be accomplished in order to gain them. At the end of each game, a full analysis will be available for gamers to review their player’s performance and strategize their further improvement.

· All players created in NBA 2K10: Draft Combine will wear a special patch on their uniform throughout the rest of that player’s career to denote that they have completed the NBA Draft Combine.
· Online leaderboards to track the highest ranking custom built players, and where a player stacks up against the competition.

· Opportunity to unlock special achievements on Xbox 360 and trophies for PLAYSTATION 3 system.

· Fans can take their custom built players from NBA 2K10: Draft Combine and use them in the all-new My Player career mode in NBA 2K10 launching this fall, allowing them to continue their journey of becoming an NBA legend.

NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, developed by Visual Concepts, is planned for release in North America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and India this September on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 (400 Microsoft Points) and PlayStation Network for PLAYSTATION 3 system ($4.99). For more information about NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, please visit
www.2ksports.com/games/nba2k10dc.











Obviously that is very exciting news for hoopheads, video game addicts and draftniks like yours truly. The Hoops Manifesto will be all over this on its release and will give you a full review of it.


Also announced this week was some more news on EA Sports: MMA, which is scheduled to drop in 2010. Among the announced fighters for it are Fedor Emelianeko and Randy Couture, but with no UFC fighters on the roster, will the average fan be interested in buying it (especially considering how good a game UFC Undisputed is)?





If you can't wait for either game to drop, here are links to the pre-orders:


Pre-order NBA 2K10 Here


Pre-order EA Sports: MMA Here

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tiger Wood PGA Tour 10 Review





I suck at putting. Not real-life putting - I haven't played real golf in over a decade, and I'm decent enough at the mini variety. No, I suck at virtual putting. And to add insult to my injury, the announce team in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 like to remind me of this fact.


My three and four-putt woes are in no ways a fault of the game, as the new "precision putting" feature, where you use the same putter regardless of the distance of the putt, is pretty easy to use. You basically line up your putt and pull back on the joystick to hit the ball. My main problem is that I rush through it and don't take enough time lining things up. My lack of patience is probably why I don't have any desire to play real golf either.

If you've played past incarnations of the Tiger Woods game you know what to expect - there aren't a whole lot of massive changes to this year's game. Now, I reviewed the game on the PS3 so I can't comment on the Wii version of it (unless Nintendo wants to send me a free Wii system of course - holler at me Nintendo!). Most of the major changes this year for the XBox/PS3 version take place online, where you can play live tournaments with real-time weather conditions and even play real-world tournaments as they happen, matching up your scores with the pros. The U.S. Open at Bethpage Black is one of six new courses in the game, bringing the total number of different links up to 16. Another fun feature is the "dynamic attributes" of your created golfer. Depending on how you do during a round, your various skills will increase or decline. And Tiger's long-time coach Hank Haney is in the game to give you drills to improve your skills.



The actual gameplay is pretty easy and intuitive, and with four different difficulty levels it is easy for anyone to pick it up and master it pretty quickly. The game pretty much offers all that you could hope for in a golf game. But, with that being said, it still is just a golf game, so non-golf fans might get bored with it pretty quick. As an added bonus, if you buy the game you'll get a free subscription to Golf World or Golf Digest magazines (unless you live outside of the U.S. like me).
Now, excuse me while I go and practice my putting so announcer Scott Van Pelt stops making fun of me.

Buy it here:




My fellow Canadians can get it here:

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10

Monday, July 27, 2009

He Blew His Mind Out


Stephon Marbury is sabotaging any other story ideas that could possibly come into my head (as well as also sabotaging my attempts to go to bed at a decent time at night). Starbury is sleeping right now so I have a chance to write something quick. How do I know he is asleep? Because he is still living in front of his webcam.

This is society's obsession with voyeuristic, reality television at its worst. If you haven't caught any of the surreal scene that has gone down over the past few days, you've truly missed out. Most of it has involved a wild-eyed, shirtless Marbury rambling incoherently, getting his head shaved and dancing to music. The parts I caught of this train derailment last night involved Marbury sitting in a darkened room, blasting the same Drake song over and over and dancing while doing the #1 sign with his hand. When he did speak, he went into extensive details on how to wash a woman's hair. Oh, and a few nights ago there were more than a few tears.




What has become obviously apparent is that this man needs help. He is in the throes of a mental breakdown of some sorts, with many speculating that it is chemically induced. I'd be called a hater by Starbury supporters for saying that, but this is based on facts, not hate. His emotions are all over the map, he is rambling about nonsense, his eyes are bugged out, and he doesn't seem to sleep too much. All pretty much warning signs that something is amiss. The boys at SLAM were trying to convince me a few days ago that Marbury has always been like this, but that is not very believable at this point (plus NYC tends to be overly protective of their basketball products).



Regardless, someone in the Starbury inner circle need to step in and stop this tragic scene. While this is highly entertaining (in a voyeuristic way) for the viewers, it amounts to nothing more than career suicide on Marbury's part. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed as much in a column over the weekend - NBA executives are paying attention to this and are not in the least bit impressed. The free agent point guard was going to have a hard enough time getting himself signed as it was, even before this gong show. There are a few positions in sports that being a little loony is a good thing - hockey goaltender and closing pitcher are a few that come to mind - but NBA point guard is not one of them. Especially a 32-year-old who has a history of being a disruptive force on a team, shoots too much and still thinks he's a star.

This whole saga is tragic to say the least. Marbury is in no way a bad person - he is notably charitable and his cheap shoe line - Starbury - is a godsend for kids from low income families. Perhaps he isn't the best teammate or husband (see: backseat of truck, banging Knicks intern) but his heart seems to be in the right place. Which makes his descent into dementia a shame. With that being said, I better run - he's bound to wake up soon.